On the Importance of Sharing Pain

How do I begin to summarize what just happened? I’ve been telling everyone it’s for the best, and it’s okay. And that’s all good and true really. But that doesn’t diminish the pain. It doesn’t do anything to the very real, very strong feeling of loss. I could cry for hours if I let myself. If I wanted to I could sit alone, wallowing in what could have been, what went wrong, and just cry and cry and cry. Remembering all the wonderful things that happened. Realizing again and again that those things won’t be there in the future. Not in the same way. Not with the same person. The magic that was there, stays there, in the past.

And I truly believe it’s magic. It’s a special thing when two people decide to give themselves over to the other person. They say, hey, take this. I want you to have this piece of my heart. Because I trust you. I trust you to care for it. To care for me. To nourish me and make me feel warm and fuzzy and cozy and loved. It’s not an easy decision to make. It’s a risk. Maybe that person you’re handing your heart over to won’t treat it the way you want it to be treated. And that’s gonna hurt. And any amount of hurt on something as precious as your heart, your love, is absolutely tragic. It’s gonna feel traumatic. Because your heart and your love is your most precious asset. It’s the most important thing we have in this world. We can’t afford to sustain too much damage to it, if any.

Which is why it requires so much respect. So much care. And that’s what makes love so god damn difficult. It’s hard to know what the best thing is to do. There’s so much to consider. So many things can feel so right, while at the same time other things about it just feel off. Which things do you listen to? Which things do you focus on? Clarity is an elusive state of mind.

There’s pain that comes with loss. And what do we do with that pain? I can’t ignore it. That much I know is not right. I try to work it out with my therapist. I try to reason away the pain. Rationalize things and make it all make sense in my head. Journal about it. Give reasons for why it all has to be the way that it is. But that hardly helps. So what’s left is just to feel it. With no timeline for how long it should feel a certain way. No image of what the feeling should look like. And with as little self judgement as possible. That last part is still a major work in progress for me.

So the idea is to feel it. And live with it too. It’s never going to go completely away. The love that happened, and loss that’s occurred, that’s never going to be undone. There’s no going back and fixing things. Making everyone happy with everything forever. There’s always going to be a memory, something not too far from the front of your mind, or a reason to be sad. To feel loss, disappointment, regret or a sense of what could have been. I can always come back to that. And I think for me that’s not such a difficult thing to do. To feel it and process it and live with it. At least in private. And I have a feeling that’s the easier part for a lot of other people too.

The part that becomes difficult is sharing it. There’s many reasons why it’s difficult to share the pain. The instinct not to burden others with your own problems. Not to be a downer. ~Good vibes only~. Or maybe I don’t feel close enough with this person. Maybe they won’t understand. Maybe they won’t be able to relate. Maybe I don’t want to be seen as weak or needing help. It’s putting your heart out there, again, in a different way, but with a similar risk. The truth though is that I need this. And I think we all need this.

I’ve been feeling and living with the pain largely on my own for a long time now. And I know now that what’s been missing is sharing it. I’ve known for a little while that that’s what has been missing. I’ve been lucky to share bits and pieces of my pain here and there with people I consider close friends. And that’s helped. But there’s a lot more. And I need more people to know about it. I’m not okay. I haven’t felt fully okay in a long time. So this is it. This is me sharing my pain, with you. In whatever kind of roundabout way this is. I’m not expecting anything in return. I just know that to feel and to live with pain on your own is not the complete right way to deal with it. And as messy, and unpleasant as it is to express myself in this way, it’s important.

If you have something that’s been bothering you, I encourage you to share that with someone. And I hope that someone gives you full permission to cry as big and wet and snotty and loud and long as you need to. It doesn’t make you a weak person or a broken person. It makes you a human person. And you’re not ruining your friend’s day. Your friend wants to help you and be there for you, because they love you. And sharing this vulnerability is the only way we get closer to one another. It’s how we learn to understand each other better. And it’s how we keep the magic alive in this world. Friend to friend, person to person. It’s all love. And I truly hope you get to feel that this year.

(This is a letter to myself. It’s a reminder to continue to work at sharing my authentic emotions with the people I consider close, even when they are downright ugly. It is me granting permission to myself to big ugly cry whenever I want to, with whoever I want to. So that, as the days continue to roll, miraculously, in this big crazy life, I can continue to feel more love, more connection, and more human.)

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